Review by ringervolume

""Just Cause" it's huge, doesn't mean it's great"

Just Cause is truly an underdog in sandbox gaming titles. This game has magnificent scenery, and a near limitless terrain
which is, in itself, mostly trees. Who doesn't love open games in which you kill innocents, though? Just Cause, though, seemed like a little brother that was trying to hard to impress his parents. It gave the player a nice array of things to do, such as free fall from planes, but there wasn't much of a background as to why in God's name Rico, the protagonist, was doing these things.

The story of Just Cause places the player as the brave Rico Rodriguez, an insanely talented CIA operative, that is sent to liberate a change under the control of a very corrupt dictator. The player works for two different "teams" of freedom fighters. These two groups are the Guerrillas and the Rioja, both fighting against a different part of the corruption which is their country. The story itself is somewhat reminiscent to the story of Che Guevara. With such a promising story, what could go wrong?

The story itself gives a good impression to the player. A simple tale of a hero and a villain, a melodrama, really. With the back of the game's case promising such adventure and fun, what could happen to destroy this dream? Lots. The story itself is kind of weak. It involves Rico being sent out on repetitive wild goose chases after someone who is connected to the dictator in any way, shape, or form. Goodbye to friends for him. The story the box promises certainly gives the reader much more ideas of adventures with guns blazing. What you DO get, though, is running through forests looking for anything to use as a weapon while some crazed police men run after you screaming "POLICIA! STOP!" Not to mention, the missions are incredibly easy, leading to a very short play time.

The shorter missions, however, are the liberation's of small villages. The first few of these are fun, but then once you do about three you begin to realize that every single one is exactly the same . Not only are they like the video game equivalent to the Olsen twins, they are incredibly easy. Each one takes about five minutes to complete, and none of them leave the player with a sense of accomplishment. It is like eating a bowl of cereal and being proud of yourself.

The thing that really saved this game for me is truly the beauty of the landscape they made for it. It is vast, and sky diving is just magnificent. Though this is really an amazing thing for a game to have, never seen something like it in a game before, the power of Just Cause's repetitive beam succeeds again. This scenery gets boring, and sky diving gets old because there isn't much you can do with it. All this leaving the eyes craving for something civilized, and when you DO find a city, it doesn't seem natural, and they are superbly small, like a city block stolen from New York and the thief got tired in San Esperito and just dropped it.
The models of people really destroy a part of my heart when I play this game. Rico is the only character who doesn't look like a 3D version of a Pop Eye character. Not to mention, all the animations of them talking look like the animatronic singing robots from Chucky-Cheese's. Even Rico's running and walking looks like 3CPO from Starwars trying to run with a gun. Another thing was that the leaves on the trees were simply chunks of 2D squares with images of chunks of leaves on them. It's the small things that seem to bring the bother.

The gameplay certainly doesn't help Just Cause's case, either. The gunplay in this game feels too stiff, and getting around is difficult. This game's aiming system seemed wonky because of the fact that the aimer moved around as if you were playing duck hunt, it would move in almost straight lines. The sky diving, which became a big part of the game, was fun at first; but it doesn't take long for it to get old, and there wasn't many options with controlling Rico while free falling.

Overall, the sound wasn't all that bad, the guns sounded fine, and the vehicle sounds were nice. The only thing that bothered me was the atrocious voice acting. Rico sounded so... fake. Most of the characters had accents, most of which sounded somewhat fake, and the American characters just sounded dumb.

This isn't a BAD game as much as it's not as innovative as it wants to be. The visuals were truly beautiful, and the vast landscape was nice... except the trees. Everything is great until you actually start to REALLY play the game and notice the small things. Just Cause is simply a game that could be groundbreaking, but seemed to trip on the steps on the way up.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 04/29/08

Game Release: Just Cause (US, 09/27/06)

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